Adrian Bečić is a Toronto-born Croatian goalkeeper currently playing for NK Imotski in Druga HNL. A pro since age 18, Bečić has also played for Dugopolje and Mosor, winning the second division with the former in 2012. We spoke with about his connections to Canada and ambitions.
SSPC: Toronto to Imotski, can you tell us about that journey and your development?
AB: I was born in Toronto 27th January 1989. My parents came to Canada from Croatia around 1985 in search for a better life. Our family returned to Croatia (Split) around 1995 after the war ended and a new country was born. At first, I didn’t play soccer immediately. First swimming, basketball and then soccer. I started to play at youth system of HNK Mosor Zrnovnica around 2001-2002. I played for their youth system until 2007. I made debut for senior team at 16 years old in Croatian second division. 2007. I got offer to go to another club HNK Trogir also member of second division. There I stayed for two years and won domestic cup 2008. The club went bankrupcy so I changed club and 2009 transferred to HNK Dugopolje. There I won Croatian Third Division South 2010 and champion of Second Division 2012. The lack of ambition of the board was the reason why the team didn’t get promoted to First Division. I stayed at this club until 2014, when I transferred to NK Imotski where I am now. The first season the club achieved high 5th position, considering they were nominated for relegation battle. I played more than 130 matches in Croatian second division as goalkeeper and achieved some great trophies.
SSPC: What’s your connection to Canada like today?
AB: My father, mother, brother and sister are currently in Canada. My father and brother work as electricians, sister is studying music and mom is a housemaid. While in Croatia are also sister and brother living.
SSPC: You’ve seen regular action in Croatia’s Second Division since 2007, are you interested in pursuing first division action, even outside of Croatia?
AB: Sure, I would like to achieve something at a higher level, abroad or in Croatia but the circumstances didn’t allow to achieve that yet. It’s hard to become first goalkeeper in first division because of the big competition of goalkeepers in Croatia. I wouldn’t want to go somewhere where I would sit on the bench. It’s better to be on the pitch in second division then be on the bench in first. In the future I would like to get an opportunity in a higher division if the circumstances allowed…One other reason for not trying at higher level is because I continued my study and graduated 5-year study and became Master of Kinesiology. Second division clubs are closer to my university and are semi-professional clubs so it allowed me to play football actively and finish study
SSPC: The Canadian national team depth in the keeper position isn’t the best, two of the best keepers we have are near retirement, several are under 23 and playing on reserve teams and many of the rest are struggling for playing time even in second divisions. That said there is an established starter for the Canadian team. As an established starting keeper at the club level, would you be interested in playing for the Canadian national team, even if it was in a depth role?
AB: Of course I would be interested in playing for the Canadian national team if there were opportunity. I would be interested also playing for a club in Canada or USA at higher level if the situation allows to do that.
SSPC: One of the things I’m curious about is how players who’ve grown up outside of Canada feel about the idea of playing for the Canadian national team rather than the nation they grew up in. How do you feel about it?
AB: I have great respect for the country where I was born besides the sport. I’m connected to Canada through my family so it wouldn’t be a problem to move to another club in Canada or USA. It’s hard to believe that I would ever get the opportunity to play for Croatia so I would proudly accept the Canadian squad if the federation ever contacts me in the future.
SSPC: Do you follow the MLS or NASL? What are your impressions of them?
AB: A little bit. We have on Eurosport MLS matches and sometimes I watch them. I think that the MLS is a growing competition with full stadiums that shows that people follow the sport and its getting more popular. There are lot of famous footballers now playing in the MLS and they bring a dimension more to this sport and attract more fans and sponsors.
You can follow Adrian on Instagram at @abecic2701